Driver faces court after splashing schoolchildren with puddle
From the Telegraph 22/01/14:
A motorist is facing prosecution after he allegedly drenched children walking to their primary school by driving through a puddle.
He has been summonsed to appear before magistrates for driving without reasonable consideration over the incident, which was witnessed by a passing policeman.
The man faces a charge under a little-known provision covered by [section 3 of] the Road Traffic Act , which makes it an offence to “drive through a puddle causing pedestrians to be splashed”.
Let’s be clear here: the Act itself does not contain a provision which expressly makes it an offence splash pedestrians by driving through puddles. However section 3 of the RTA provides:
Careless and inconsiderate driving
If a person drives a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence.
S3ZA of the RTA gives guidance as to the meaning of careless or inconsiderate driving. Further guidance is provided by the CPS by way of their 'Policy for prosecuting cases of bad driving'.
This gives the following examples of conduct appropriate for a charge of driving without reasonable consideration to be made out: flashing of lights to force other drivers in front to give way; misuse of any lane to avoid queuing or gain some other advantage over other drivers; unnecessarily remaining in an overtaking lane; unnecessarily slow driving or braking without good cause; driving with undipped headlights that dazzle oncoming drivers; driving through a puddle causing pedestrians to be splashed; and driving a bus in such a way as to alarm passengers.
“Driving a bus in such a way as to alarm passengers”. You what?!? From my recollection of riding on a bus, most bus drivers operating in the country must be routinely guilty of committing this offence!
By virtue of section 3ZA(4) RTA, this offence is made out only if other road users are inconvenienced by the driving of the defendant. Evidence of such inconvenience may be provided either by the direct testimony of another road user, or by inference to be drawn from evidence of the reactions or behaviour of other road users.
Anyway, back to the story.
Debbie Pugh was walking her children, David, 8, and Emma, 11, to St George's Junior School in Colchester, Essex, when a motorist allegedly ran through a pool of water standing along the road.
They’re also known as ‘puddles’. Moving on.
She said: "We got soaked. My son was crying his eyes out. I was yelling obscenities at the driver.”
A police car stopped and the officer spoke to her about what had happened.
Mrs Pugh said: "He said the puddle could have had a stone in it that could have hit us. I can laugh about it now because I have got a sense of humour but it wasn't funny when I was trying to get my children to school and keep them warm and dry."
I think all pedestrians have experienced being deliberately splashed by cars driving through puddles on wet days. When it’s raining, pedestrians are often faced with a dilemma: do they walk sensibly and with dignity by the larger puddles but run a greater risk of being splashed by a car or skip, hop or jump rather camply around them. I’ve faced many a soggy and ignominious trudge to work having made the wrong call in the past.
It’d be nice to think that a few more cases like this being brought to court will start to curb the behaviour of drivers who otherwise delight in making pedestrians’ lives even more of a misery than they need be.
I’m not particularly hopeful though.